KTM 950 Supermoto | Doin' Time

KTM 950 Supermoto
Ringleader: Alex Hearn
MSRP: $12,998
Miles: 4158-6577
Average Fuel Mileage: 36 mpg
Accessories & Modifications:: Roadrash, dented pipe, earplugs

It all started as a water-cooler conversation with our editorial director, Alex Hearn, about how I-Art Director Joe Neric-should ride his long-term KTM 950 Supermoto. I admit that from the very first time I saw the bright-orange machine, I'd wanted to ride it. And with the boss' invitation, who could pass that up?

Usually when I jump on a new bike it takes me a few days to get to know it. Not so the KTM: I was loving it from the moment I left the parking lot. All I could think about during that Friday-afternoon rush hour was the fun to be had when I took it out for a proper ride.

The next day I headed to a local road called Turnbull Canyon, whose hairpins and switchbacks were perfect for the Supermoto. I couldn't get over how easy the bike was to ride, and I was having a great time-until I came upon a blind, right-hand hairpin. I was hugging the inside next to a dirt wall when out of nowhere a lowered tuner car appeared with all four wheels in my lane! I panicked and grabbed the front brake: Screeeeeck... I was down with my leg pinned.

After crawling out from under the bike and getting it re-started, two thoughts came to mind. First, I was enraged the bastard didn't stop to see if I was OK. And second, I just dumped the boss' bike. I'm a dead man.

A preliminary inspection revealed that nothing was broken or hanging off the bike; it was just scratched up. Upon a more detailed assessment, however, I discovered that the handlebar and muffler-a $550 Akrapovic Tican-were bent. This phone call was going to suck. Fortunately, I got Alex's voicemail.

That Monday, I walked the Walk of Shame straight into his office. "You wanker, you crashed my bike!" And the heckling hasn't stopped since.

After assessing the damage with shop foreman Michael Candreia, I needed to replace the handlebar ($158), right-side bar-end ($24), right-side mirror ($42) and right-side radiator shroud ($149), plus install a new set of graphics ($149), for a total cost of $522. Ouch.

So, what have I learned? A few lessons: Mainly, don't crash the boss' bike. Watch out for lowered rice-cookers. And always carry a set of earplugs. It drowns out the heckling.

"You wanker, you crashed my bike!"
"Funny, I don't remember this artfully placed crease in my beautiful titanium Akrapovic pipe..."
"...nor the asphalt scuffage on my once-pristine radiator shroud. Least it's orange all the way through."
"Neric did this. Some cock-and-bull story about a car. He's a wanker. I hate him."